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Our Approach

Integrative Care for All your Pets

Integrative medicine is not groundbreaking in practice—it’s an approach to health care in which physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental factors are considered. An integrative approach means that each patient's care is personalized to their unique condition and circumstances. It pulls from the most appropriate interventions from an array of modalities, both holistic and conventional, to aide patients in healing and thriving.

Integrative medical practices strive to go beyond treating symptoms to address the causes of illness. With this, we work to address immediate problems, and to enrich the future.

 

What We Offer

 
 

Preventative Medicine

“Prevention is the best medicine” applies especially well in veterinary medicine. We look at prevention in a much broader sense than just vaccinations. Our integrative approach to prevention focuses mostly on diet, socialization, training, environment and exercise.

Vaccinations

While we do use vaccines in our practice, we follow the more current guidelines of vaccinating our younger patients, then minimizing vaccinations as our patient’s age. We strongly encourage running a blood titer to evaluate a dog or cat’s existing antibodies to the diseases we might be considering for vaccination, and strive to eliminate unnecessary vaccinations entirely.
 

Diet

We believe that an appropriate diet is the cornerstone to good health. We offer a number of diet options for our patients, realizing that there is no one perfect diet for everyone. Our preference is for balanced and veterinary dietician accessed raw food diets, and we provide a number of written articles, links, and brochures discussing these options.

Doctor's Note:  We see many health problems related to allergies and find that food allergies are a common occurrence. Taking a hard look at our patients’ diets and exploring hypo-allergenic options can make an incredible difference in some patients.

There is also a growing body of evidence supporting the role of carbohydrates and processed foods in the formation of inflammatory responses in the body.  We find that many conditions in our patients (arthritis, kidney disease, bladder irritations, heart disease, etc.) improve with a more restricted carbohydrate, fresher diet.  As we see the studies and the results in our patients, it stimulates us to eat healthier too!”
 

Annual Exams

Wellness exams are the backbone of our practice and the cornerstone of prevention.

We believe that every patient should be examined at least once a year. Time is set aside to discuss diet, behavior & habits, environment, and physical concerns. We look at this as an opportunity to get to know our patients better as well as a chance to stimulate their human companions into evaluating what is and isn’t working in their relationship.

The exam might include anything from acknowledging and taking responsibility for an obesity problem to defining new ways of interacting with a pet to overcome a behavior problem, to designing a supplement regime for the alleviation of a skin problem.

We discuss travel plans and what might be necessary to assure a safe and enjoyable trip for all, and make recommendations as necessary for outside services such as grooming, house-sitting and training.

Our fees are based on the time spent with a patient and client, ranging from a routine (approximately 20 min) to an extended (approximately 40 min). For new patients and clients who are interested in an in depth discussion of diet and other detailed discussions of  integrative health, we offer a holistic consult (approximately 60 min).  If there has not been enough time allotted to cover all concerns, a return visit may be scheduled. While we often examine multiple members of an animal household during one visit, it takes great concentration on both the doctor’s and the client’s parts to ensure that each animal is thoroughly examined and discussed as necessary.

 

surgical procedures

Morningstar is equipped to provide all routine surgical procedures. Neutering and trauma repair are common procedures, as are tumor removals, abdominal exploratories, bladder stone removal etc.

We also consult and refer to the services of local specialty surgeons to perform some of the more involved surgeries such as pinning and plating broken bones, cruciate ligament repairs, joint surgeries and open chest procedures. 

Surgeries and procedures requiring anesthesia are scheduled every Tuesday and Wednesday morning by appointment.
 

Exotic Pets

Morningstar sees a wide range of “exotic” patients. We see many birds on a regular basis, as well as reptiles, a very occasional amphibian, rabbits, ferrets, and “pocket pets” such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs. As in our dog and cat patients, our focus is on good nutrition and preventative care.

We encourage people to research extensively before committing to exotics, being aware of nutrition as well as the physical and emotional care needed for the species and individual under consideration.

Read More on Living with Exotic Pets,  Overview of Exotic Pets, and Feathered Friends

 

Emergency Services

Morningstar employs an answering service to provide our clients with 24 hour coverage, seven days a week. There are occasions, however, when the doctor on call may be involved in a prior emergency or a personal commitment which will result in a short delay in responding to a call, or a referral to another area clinic. Every effort is made to speak with callers and respond to emergencies in a timely fashion.

We take this commitment seriously, and appreciate our clients’ sensitivity in not placing unnecessary calls after hours. We are available for questions about post-op care, medications, strange new symptoms etc. We would much rather clear up a question after hours than have a situation blow up or make our patients suffer needlessly by waiting till normal office hours. Please let us know if you feel that this has not been the case. Quality control is important to us, whether it applies to our answering service, our doctors, or our staff.
 

Radiological Services

Morningstar provides complete radiographic services. We use x-rays as an aid in diagnosing everything from bowel blockages to bladder stones, broken bones to dislocations and arthritis, pneumonia to heart enlargement, pregnancy to tumors.

Radiographs take the full use of our treatment room and at least two technicians, so we strive to schedule them appropriately. The ideal time for radiographs is Tuesday or Wednesday mornings by appointment.
There are some positions that must be taken under sedation, this means that if we are planning on taking x-rays, we ask that our patients be fasted. There are also some procedures that require preparation before the x-rays such as enemas or catheterization. Please ask at the time the appointment is made to learn what might be indicated for your companion.

Case in Point: Casey C. was a young, exuberant Labrador who suddenly became unable to hold down food or water, despite an interest in both. Her human companions were convinced that she had not been able to scavenge anything, nor were they aware that she had been fed anything out of the ordinary. Medical management did nothing to calm her stomach. Lab work indicated that her kidneys were stressed, and yet fluid therapy did not relieve her symptoms. Radiographs of her abdomen showed that she had swallowed a large rock, which was too big to pass out of her stomach. With a radiographic confirmation of the foreign body, we were able to open her stomach and remove the rock. She made a speedy and uneventful recovery.